Dakota Buhler: On Track to Nationals
Dakota Buhler, a junior at George Fox University (GFU), goes through the same routine most days as she practices to compete for GFU’s indoor and outdoor track and field team. Indoor track is currently in season, and Buhler competes in the long jump, the triple jump, and the 60-meter hurdle.
Currently ranked at number nine in the nation for the NCAA Division III triple jump, Buhler looks forward to what will come of her great start to the indoor season and what it will mean for the outdoor season. With her competitive standing she looks to be one of the top 17 women in the nation invited to compete in the NCAA Division III National Finals.
Last year Buhler’s outdoor record was 38’ 9” for the triple jump, ranking her at 16th. She made it to the National Finals, where she finished 12th. This year she is already close to last year’s record with an indoor personal record at 38’ 2.75”.
Buhler is well on her way to the indoor National Finals for Division III in March.
“By making indoor nationals this year, it’s putting me that much closer to an improvement on my last year’s marks,” Buhler said.
At the start of the 2015-2016 outdoor track season, Buhler’s average distance was about 34’ for the triple jump and towards the end of the season she reached the 38’ mark. Starting off strong near the 38’ mark at the start of this indoor season puts Buhler in a promising position for admittance to the Outdoor National Finals, if she maintains her personal records and improves upon them.
Buhler competes in many other events: the long jump, the 100-meter hurdles, and the heptathlon, which includes the two prior events as well as shot put, triple jump, javelin, 200-meter race, and an 800-meter race.
Buhler has participated in track and field for 12 years. Since fourth grade she has competed in everything from distance running to shot put.
“Triple jump is my one true love,” Buhler said.
In a way, Buhler has spent most of her life on the track: her mother is a track coach who coached high jump while pregnant with Buhler. She grew up building sandcastles in the jumpers’ sandpits and watching high jumpers from underneath their mat.
Other members of the the GFU women’s indoor track and field team prepare to compete in the National Championship as well.
Rachel Kraske is ranked 5th in the 60-meter hurdles. Annie Wright stands at 5th in the pentathlon. Asia Greene is 5th in the long jump. Sarah King holds the place of 2nd in the 400-meter race.